Sunday, November 29, 2009
By Simon Caldwell
LONDON (UK Catholic Herald) - The Pope is to waive his own rules so he can preside in person over the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman during a papal visit to Britain next year, according to sources close to the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI will personally take charge of the ceremony to declare the Victorian convert Blessed when he visits England in early September at the invitation of Gordon Brown.
The Pope has previously insisted that all beatifications are carried out by a Vatican official in the diocese in which the candidate died, which in Newman's case is Birmingham.
But because the Pope has such a strong devotion to Cardinal Newman and his theological writings he has decided to break his own rules and beatify the cardinal himself.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster refused to either confirm or deny the report: "The details of the Pope's visit are far from clear," he said. "What is clear is that the Holy Father has a great and long-standing devotion to Cardinal Newman and the beatification of Cardinal Newman is due."
Fr Ian Ker, author of the definitive biography of Cardinal Newman, said: "By breaking his own rules Pope Benedict clearly shows he regards Newman as a completely exceptional case, one of the great theologians of the Catholic Church. Many of the popes have been anxious to canonise Newman. They look to him as a man who welcomed modernisation but in fidelity to Church authority and in continuity with the traditions of the Church."
Pope Benedict announced the beatification in July after Vatican theologians ruled that the inexplicable healing of Jack Sullivan, an American with a severe spinal condition, was a miracle brought about by praying for help to Cardinal Newman.
Vatican City, Nov 29, 2009 / 11:26 am (CNA) - On Saturday night, Pope Benedict XVI officiated a celebration in St. Peter's Basilica of first vespers before the first Sunday of the Advent season. His message in the homily was one of 'silence and hope' during the season of Advent.
The Holy Father ushered the Church into the new liturgical year, telling those in attendance at yesterday evening's celebration of first vespers that "Advent invites us to pause in silence to understand a Presence."
In his homily, Pope Benedict, gave a short lesson on the meaning of 'advent' to those early Christians who adopted the word "to explain their relationship with Jesus Christ." He taught that the word adventus would have been understood by them in that time to mean "God is here, he hasn't retired to his world, he hasn't left us alone." He further explained that an additional definition of the word could be " a visit from God."
His Holiness implored that the faithful put aside the activities, amusements, and multiple societal interests that "possess us" and can "sweep us away" to take the time observe silence and seek to understand signs of God that are present in every day life. These signs, he said, illustrate the presence of His love.
The Pontiff explained that "Advent invites and stimulates us to contemplate the Lord present."
It's also a time of expectation and hope, the Pope said. "It is a favorable occasion for our salvation." But, he continued, one has "hoped too little if beyond the profession or social position he has nothing left to hope in"
"Hope signals the path for humanity, and for Christians," he continued, " this is encouraged by a certainty: the Lord is present in our lives."
Through this relationship, he said, when a person's "time is full of sense, and in each instant we perceive something specific and valid, then the joy of the expectation makes the present more precious."
Pope Benedict called the congregation to "live the present intensely" and to "project it towards the future" with the gifts given to each of them. "In this way," he related, "the Christian Advent becomes occasion for a reawakening of the true meaning of expectation in us, returning to the heart of our faith that the mystery of Christ, the much awaited Messiah... "
"And if Jesus is present there no longer exists any time without meaning and empty," said the Holy Father, "if He is present, we can continue to hope even when others can no longer assure us of support, even when the present becomes difficult.""Advent is a time of the presence and the expectation in the eternal," he stated. "Exactly for this reason, it is... the time of joy, an internalized joy, that no suffering can negate. Joy because God is made child."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
When you have extended your hands and taken the body, bow, and put your hands before your face, and worship the living Body whom you hold. Then speak with him in a low voice, and with your gaze resting upon him say to him:
I carry you, living God, who is incarnate in the bread, and I embrace you in my palms, Lord of the worlds whom no world has contained. You have circumscribed yourself in a fiery coal within a fleshly palm–you Lord, who with your palm measured out the dust of the earth. You are holy, God incarnate in my hands in a fiery coal which is a body. See, I hold you, although there is nothing that contains you; a bodily hand embraces you, Lord of natures whom a fleshly womb embraced. Within a womb you became a circumscribed body, and now within a hand you appear to me as a small morsel.
As you have made me worthy to approach you and receive you–and see, my hands embrace you confidently–make me worthy, Lord, to eat you in a holy manner and to taste the food of your body as a taste of your life. Instead of the stomach, the body’s member, may the womb of my intellect and the hand of my mind receive you. May you be conceived in me as you were in the womb of the Virgin. There you appeared as an infant, and your hidden self was revealed to the world as corporeal fruit; may you also appear in me here and be revealed from me in fruits that are spiritual works and just labors pleasing to your will.
And by your food may my desires be killed; and by the drinking of your cup may my passions be quenched. And instead of the members of myg inwardly, and excel outwardly, and run diligently, and to attain to the full stature of an interior human being. May I become a perfect man, mature in the intelligence residing in all my spiritual members, my head being crowned with the crown of perfection of all of my behavior. May I be a royal diadem in your hands, as you promised me, O hidden God whose manifestness I embrace in the perfection of your body. body, may my thoughts receive strength from the nourishment of your body. Like the manifest members of my body, may my hidden thoughts be engaged n exercise and in running and in works according to your living commands and your spiritual laws. From the food of your body and the drinking of your blood may I wax stron
St Philoxenus of Mabbug
Nothing is more frigid than a Christian who does not care about the salvation of others. You cannot plead the excuse of poverty here; the widow who gave her two mites will stand to accuse you. Peter said, “Silver or gold I have none.” Paul was so poor he often went hungry, lacking the necessary food. You cannot allege lack of education or preparation. They were unlearned men. You cannot plead infirmity. Timothy was often laid low by sickness and the Apostle had to counsel him to take a little wine for his stomach. Every one can profit his neighbor if he will do what he can.
Do not say, It is impossible for me to lead others to the faith. If you are a Christian, it is impossible for it not to be so. The natural properties of things cannot be denied. This witnessing to others is part of the very nature of being a Christian. It would be easier for the sun to cease to shine and give forth heat than for a Christian not to send forth light; easier for the light to be darkness than for this to be so.
“We who are disciples of Christ claim that our purpose on earth is to lay up treasures in heaven. But our actions often contradict our words. Many Christians build for themselves fine houses, lay out splendid gardens, construct bathhouses, and buy fields. It is small wonder, then, that many non-believers refuse to believe what we say. “If their eyes are set on mansions in heaven,” they ask, “why are they building mansions on earth? If they put their words into practice, they would give away their riches and live in simple huts.” So these non-believers conclude that we do not sincerely believe in the religion we profess; and as a result they refuse to take this religion seriously. You may say that the words of Christ on these matters are too hard for you to follow; and that while your spirit is willing, your flesh is weak. My answer is that the judgment of the non-believers about you is more accurate than your judgment of yourself. While the non-believers accuse us of hypocrisy, many of us should plead guilty.”